Andrew Osborne Recaps Survivor: Philippines

I’m always a fan of three-tribe seasons, which tend to make for more challenging, less predictable strategery.  And while all-star returns can occasionally lead to snooze-fests like Redemption Island (where the “Boston Rob Zombies” basically just followed orders the whole time), the three former med-evacs on Survivor: Philippines are pretty much wild-cards…which means we may have a good season ahead with Probst & company this time around!

So without further ado…

…the super-size season premiere kicks off with a bunch of wannabe millionaires in a boat, along with already-millionaire Jeff Kent (who sports fan and fellow Exilee Scott Von Doviak described thusly:  “Put it this way: He and Barry Bonds were teammates, and Bonds was the likable one”).

Jeff’s fellow castaways aren’t exactly clamoring for autographs though (only one person seems to recognize him during the episode) — and the same fate awaits Lisa “Blair” Whelchel, whose identity remains secret to everyone but oldsters like me and The Australian Outback‘s Michael “Dude That Fell In The Fire” Skupin (who crushes hard on the seemingly sweet, not overly Jesus-y actress turned Momtime Ministries founder).

Skupe also has the distinction of being the least inept of the three previously med-evac’d returnees, despite cutting his finger…then his head…then his foot…then his other finger (like Kenny in those mid-period South Park episodes or the Six Feet Under prologues that kept teasing something really bad was gonna happen, but we just didn’t know when or what).  On the plus side, though, Fell In The Fire seems to have chilled way out since his first appearance on the show (WHEN HE FRICKIN’ STABBED A PIG TO DEATH WITH A KNIFE AND RUBBED THE FRICKIN’ BLOOD ON HIS FACE!), and even manages to get on the good side of RC…who frankly kinda scares me, I’m not gonna lie.  I can’t tell yet if I love her or hate her, but at this point she seems like a power player with definite Final Four potential (and maybe even her own All-Star return in the future).

As for the other walking wounded:  I loved Penner on Cook Islands & Micronesia, but not counting the extra flab he brought along as a luxury item, he’s playing a pretty short-sighted game thus far by searching for hidden immunity idols when he should be making nice with his tiny, schemey tribe.

But Samoa‘s Russell Swan seems the most out of practice as he honks on and on about how he’s totally not the leader of the tribe (while simultaneously bossing everyone around and making ill-advised strategic decisions at the challenge).

Fortunately for the Anti-Hantz, however, there’s an even worse player on his tribe:  the down-home skate-punk Frankenstein enthusiast,  Zane, whose strategy consists of making alliances with everyone, then telling everyone he’s made alliances with everyone.  Brilliant!

And after the Matsing tribe goes down in defeat at the first reward/immunity challenge, Zane scores another tactical coup by offering himself up as a sacrificial lamb, rallying his fellow Survivors to vote him off instead of Russell…with hilariously predictable results (or, rather, predictable for everyone but Dr. Frankenstein, who seems honestly surprised when his torch is snuffed in the wake of a 5-1 mercy killing).

Stray Observations:

  • Monkeys are so over.  But cobras?  RULE!!!
  • At one point, RC says she doesn’t want to reveal her true profession because people hate bankers.  “What about liars?” my wife snapped at the screen.  “Same thing,” our friend Heidi concluded.
  • I haven’t researched this, but I can say with 99.9% certainty that those big crazy chicken statues Probst unveiled are the greatest immunity idols in the history of Survivor.
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